Chinese researchers reportedly directed the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to remove key gene sequences of early COVID pandemic cases from their database.
The discovery comes from a new paper by virologist Prof. Jesse Bloom at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Prof. Bloom says that these COVID virus samples came from ground zero in Wuhan back in January and February 2020.
The NIH specifies that the deletion request was made in June 2020 because "they had been updated and were to be posted to another, unspecified database. The investigator said they wanted the older version to be removed to avoid confusion.”
While some of this information was preserved in a published scientific journal elsewhere, the move raises suspicions surrounding the politicized nature of the investigation into COVID’s origins.
“It makes us wonder if there are other sequences like these that have been purged,” evolutionary biologist Vaughn S. Cooper told the Wall Street Journal.
The findings by Dr. Bloom has reignited interest for scientists when it comes to looking at the earliest COVID infections recorded at the pandemic’s onset.
Another biology professor the outlet interviewed was optimistic that if “more sequences came to light” from the first days of COVID’s spread, it’d be a game-changer. However others argued that full genome sequences and not “fragments” would be “most informative.”
In related news on the subject, the Biden administration has given the lab leak theory a second look after it was abandoned during former President Trump’s tenure. Figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Peter Daszak at the front and center of scrutiny.
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